Are you tired of paying a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.